"Pros and Cons of the Celeb Chef" | CookingDistrict.com

"Pros and Cons of the Celeb Chef"

Hotel Interactive has published an insightful article on the pros and cons of employing a celebrity chef in your hotel restaurant. A well-known chef will pull in customers, "whether they are foodies or non-foodies," as a very effective marketing tool.

David G. Benton, vice president and GM of the Rittenhouse Hotel discusses having guests in the kitchen with their previous local celebrity chef, Jim Coleman:

“It gives guests a chance to interact with the chefs and cooks and see the preparation going on. It is like going backstage at the theater. It is a little big magical.” The backstage feeling carries into the dining room “where people would recognize him,” Benton said. “He had a very distinctive voice, and was a very gregarious fellow. People got a thrill interactive with him, asking questions and even commenting about some of his shows.”

But hiring celebrity in the kitchen can introduce its own issues. GigaChef's Brad Barnes, CMC was quoted throughout the article, at one point saying:

“Some people are doing it very smart. But a lot of hotels have gotten into trouble with this as well. There are two sides.” Celebrity presence may be great for bringing in spending customers, but they don't always have the perfect skill set for managing big hotel food operations. Chef Brad goes on to say "if you are going to run a nice restaurant, do your great work, but we [the hotel staff] need to run the other nuts and bolts. That is what the successful ones are doing.” This can, in effect, create two structures that are similar ("parallel" in many ways), and is often the answer to getting the best of both worlds.

Be sure to check out the whole article for the detailed explanation, it's a great quick read.


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